Flying high with the Blue Angels

Every now and then you get called for a job that is too good to be true. Well, that happened to Granbery Studios not too long ago. GS clearly remembers the phone call – “Jeff, how would you like to fly with the Blue Angels?” Of course, we said yes! The Blue Angels, United States Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, were doing a special with the Discovery Channel about medical services and how they could learn a few things from the precision of aircraft operations.


Our job was to tell the story of the Blue Angels and its crew. What most people don’t realize is that the crew members of the Blue Angels program change out every 3 years and yet the show has been nearly the same for over 40 years. In order to help tell their story, I was told that I needed to fly in the main cabin of the C-130 “Fat Albert” in order to capture real dynamic take off and in flight footage. Now I needed to figure out how to shoot in this gigantic plane with a small cockpit along with my massive Sony XDcam, a wide-angle lens and capture audio at the same time. Did I mention the cockpit is almost 4 stories off the ground and there is a 10-foot exit drop down a stairwell? I have documented raw footage of what it’s like to stand inside of the C-130 during takeoff. The link below shows my experience. During on the of the last turns, I found myself wrapped up in audio cables and veering left as the plan turned right. I was quickly grabbed by one of the crewmembers before I fell over.

Me and the Blue Angels C-130 Aircraft “Fat Albert”

After I was on the ground again, I was asked what it was like to be in zero G for a second. To be honest, I have no idea because I was watching the entire event through a one-inch eyepiece and it felt like a TV show. It fact I had to play the tape back just to see what happened. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience. Go big blue!

Try doing that with a camera and standing.


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